A Facebook group was created Wednesday calling for people to post why they do not support the actions of Cherokee County school board member Kelly Marlow, and a petition was started Friday calling for Marlow to rescind her complaint to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Christine Rea of Canton created the group called SCRAM! or Smart Citizens Rally Against Marlow!, which had more than 525 members by Friday.
“The intention of the group was to put all the information in one place,” Rea said. “There won’t be anything that will be slanderous or libelous posted.”
Canton resident Ashley Cline started the online petition at change.org, and had more than 125 supporters by Friday afternoon, less than 10 hours after it was created.
“I was really disappointed in Kelly Marlow’s behavior,” Cline said. “She really crossed the line with parents, teachers and administrators by calling in SACS.”
The moves come after Marlow called for a formal investigation of the Cherokee County School District by AdvancED, the agency that includes SACS, which oversees accreditation for the school district.
In a letter dated June 11, Marlow wrote to AdvancED Director Mike Bryans that, in her opinion, “the Board of Education in Cherokee is no longer able to effectively govern the school system.”
AdvanceEd has said it is reviewing the complaint to determine if “standards or procedures regarding accreditation have been violated.”
Marlow did not respond to the Tribune’s requests for comment.
SCRAM! stated four missions for the group fighting Marlow: to preserve the school system, to collect information regarding Marlow’s actions, to act as a mechanism for facilitating communication with relevant parties and to act as a virtual town square.
Rea said she has three children in the school district and said it’s encouraging to see so many people that care about what’s going on and how it could be detrimental to the district.
“She didn’t need to go there,” Rea said. “At this point I’m a little speechless as to why (Marlow sent the letter to SACS).”
Rea said that she was disappointed in Marlow’s action because she is not only affecting her district, but the entire district.
“There haven’t been any plans to actually move forward with (recalling Marlow), but it is under consideration only because the question has been posed numerous times,” Rea said.
Cline said she started the petition because she was concerned about the letter Marlow sent to SACS and because she wanted to spread word to people in the district.
“By signing this petition, you are asking Ms. Marlow to rescind her letter to AdvancED and put aside her personal political agenda,” the petition description reads. “It is time to focus on the welfare of CCSD’s students!”
Cline said her husband is an employee in the Cherokee County School District, and said both of her children are involved in the district. Cline said calling in SACS was a serious step that put the entire district’s accreditation on the line.
“It boils down to a personal vendetta, and now our kids are in the crosshairs,” Cline said. “To me, that’s unacceptable.”
So far, the content of members’ comments on the page have included articles by local media about the Cherokee County School District and about Marlow, comments about why members oppose Marlow’s actions, links to related Internet content like Marlow’s latest newsletter and documents from open records requests regarding Marlow, a document about Georgia’s procedure to recall elected officials and a link to the online petition asking for Marlow to rescind her complaint to SACS.
“This group was created to bring together like-minded people who have an interest in making sure the children of our county are our priority,” the Facebook group description read.
The SCRAM! Facebook page is an open group, meaning anyone, even those who do not have Facebook accounts, can view the content. The group can be found at face book.com/groups
The petition can be viewed and signed at change.org/petitions/kelly-marlow-school-board-member-of-cherokee-county-district-1-rescind-your-complaint-to-advanced#news.